Saturday, 14 February 2015

Cyclops in Love - The Romantic History

It's Valentine's Day, and because it's Valentine's Day I thought it best to take a look into the Cyclops' love life since that's the first thing I thought of when I realised I needed to write a Valentine's Day article. I also postponed the article a day to release it on Valentine's Day, but that's more because that I'm lazy and hadn't finished it than any real reason to coincide with the holiday.

Now, Cyclops, aka Scott Summers, is one of my favourite X-Men ever. There is just something about the character, his design, his sense of commitment and leadership, and the epic nature of his powers that really appealed to me. I've already talked about Cyclops and why he's a badass before, but just to reiterate, I think he is a far more interesting character than most people give him credit for.

Yep, totally not badass blasting frikkin' Captain America away like that. Not badass at all.

He is one of the best examples of the tortured hero Marvel has, and they have a monopoly on tortured heroes, from the Hulk's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde trauma to Spider-Man's teenage angst. But where other Marvel superheroes' problems seem to come from trying to reconcile their everyday life with the responsibility of having a spandex-wearing crime fighting alter ego, Cyclop's initial conflict came from his powers themselves.

For Cyclops shaped a large part of he interacts with the world and deals with things based on the anxiety and fear he has about the destructive force of his powers.  He tries to keep himself in control at all times for fear of accidentally letting loose an optic blast in a moment of carelessness and hurting his loved ones.

I love that aspect of Cyclops and it explains much of the stiffness often attributed to the character. He has to remain stoic and in control at all times since one little mishap in a moment of laxity can lead to adding a new skylight in a train station's roof.

"Let's see here... that's one skylight with concussion force installation, oh, overtime for the night shift... hmm, you're looking at a hefty fee but luckily for you, we're having a discount on concussion force installs at the moment, 20% off."

But I'm not here to talk about how amazing it would be to shoot concussion beams out your eyes, mostly because I've already done that in the past. Rather, like I already mentioned in the first paragraph (it's at the top of the page if you skipped past it, have a look), I'm gonna talk about Cyclop's eventful love life.

Now, Cyclop's has had a pretty eventful and messy series of romantic relationships, most notably with Jean Grey, who most people pick as his true love, primarily because she was his first. However, comics being comics, things often got a bit confusing for Cyclops' and Jean's relationship, mostly because she kept on dying and being brought back to life all the time on him. Constantly dying and being resurrected causes a strain on a relationship, even for a devoted partner. And man, Cyclops is a devoted partner.

So devoted in fact that when Jean died for the first time, committing suicide due to something about being a Phoenix, Cyclops was a little upset to say the least, despite the fact she's a phoenix and will come back to life since that's what phoenixes do.

And they always came back with a thing for sexy tight red costumes and flames for some reason.

But after Jean died, Scott met Madelyne Pryor a woman who looked exactly like Jean. Like exactly alike. Not "oh, you kinda sorta look like this woman I loved" but full blown "holy shit, you must be a clone of the woman I loved!", which makes sense since she was a clone of Jean Grey but Cyclops didn't know that nor really cared.

Yeah, you know how after a break up, people sometimes get with someone who has a similar appearance to the person who broke up with them because they aren't over them? Well, Scott married a clone of the woman he loved after he lost her. And this is done with nothing more than the occasional comment that Madelyne looks exactly like Jean which is a little weird but eh, whatever.

Seriously, in the comics of the time, Cyclops shows some indecision and confusion that Madelyne is completely identical to Jean but he kinda just goes with it when he should be freaking the hell out and questioning how this possible.

And in hindsight this lack of questioning is obviously because this is a man dealing with the loss of the love of his life and when he found someone exactly like the person he lost, he doesn't want to question it for fear of losing that 'second chance'. Which is fair enough I guess since everybody deals with loss in their own way but seriously, she looks exactly the same! Doesn't that raise any flags? Look out for the flags, Scott!

Flags, Scott!

Of course Jean eventually came back to life because phoenix, so Scott obviously did the right thing and promptly divorced Madelyne, the woman he married and said he loved for her and not solely because she looked exactly like Jean. Oh, that caused Madelyne to go evil and become the Goblin Queen (don't ask) by the way, so good going there Cyclops.

Of course, Scott and Jean couldn't be happy for long since we all know how boring showing a loving supportive couple in a healthy relationship is, so Scott started feeling dissatisfied in his marriage to Jean. He felt the relationship had become stale and hadn't progressed past their initial teenage love, because all the stuff that had happened since and the entirety of their marriage was somehow still 'teenage'.

So naturally Cyclops has a telepathic affair with Emma Frost, former White Queen and enemy of the X-Men because that was the clever thing to do. That's a much better idea than talking about how he feels and trying to fix things with Jean by communicating to her openly and honestly. And it's not like Jean is the most powerful telepath on the planet bar Professor X and would ever find out... oh, wait...

Yeah, Jean kinda abused Emma's mind for a bit. Good going, Scott.

Beast painstakingly put Emma back together one piece at a time by hand, er, I mean paw. Then Emma and Scott got together and actually made a great couple together. She challenged his stiffness and with her trademark snark, cattiness, and seductive personality, really got Cyclops to let loose with less inhibitions and more confidence in his decisions.

Those decisions were not always the easiest or necessarily the 'right' ones but they were the ones he felt he needed to take in order to do what was best for mutantkind once there were less than 150 mutants left follow the events of House of M (long story). And Emma offered him support and was there for him.

So naturally during the events of the Avengers vs X-Men when Cyclops and Emma are bonded with the Phoenix force therefore kinda evil, Cyclops forcibly takes Emma's portion of the Phoenix force in order to kill Professor X. Yeah, kinda didn't help that relationship.

You know, when I first thought about writing this article, it was gonna be about how Scott is a great romantic partner. No really, I was gonna talk about how devoted and caring he is, how difficult it must have been to maintain two long-lasting relationships with telepaths, how his stoic nature belies a romantic soul...

He only has an eye for you.

But instead, it kinda ended up being about how he's a dick who can't properly express his emotions or deal with what he is going through effectively, often making poor decisions and hurting the one he loves. Go figure.

So Happy Valentine's Day or whatever. Just hope your Valentine isn't a jerkwad that doesn't know how to keep his sexy psychic projections out of another telepaths head.


References:

Cyclops (comics) Wikipedia page

Jean Grey (comics) Wikipedia page

Madelyne Pryor Wikipedia page

Emma Frost Wikipedia page

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